Prioritize Room for People, Not Cars

Target: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Goal: Increase living space in Philadelphia by making fewer parking spaces required in new residential developments.

Anyone who has lived in or visited a well-populated city knows the pains of getting around by car. Still, people flock to the nation’s hottest hubs to pursue work, social supports, and easy access to entertainment and other amenities. With more than 91.5% of households in the US owning at least one vehicle, according to the Motley Fool website, it is no surprise automotive congestion hits dense areas the hardest. This trend forces city planners to create more room for cars and, consequently, less land for living space.  In the end, that means the residential room available becomes less and less affordable to the many.

Philadelphia is feeling their growing pains; some even see the city as close to reaching critical mass. City Council in the generally forward thinking city took notice, and in 2012, they decided to cut minimum parking requirements for new residential construction in an effort to increase housing while minimally affecting traffic. The result saw an astounding decrease in parking space occupancy across Philly. Nonetheless, the move did not sit well with Philadelphians and a love for transportation independence, and some city counselors pushed for multi-family zoning regulations to take the existing three parking spaces for every ten residences and double it to six.

Unfortunately, the parking situation has not necessarily improved. Philly blogger Helen McDowell wrote in January 2022 that the City of Brotherly Love now contains about 3.2 parking spaces per household, several steps backwards from the numbers in 2012, especially with the natural population increase. This must change to continue to make Philadelphia a city for all.

Sign the petition to encourage Philadelphia’s city councilors to support putting people over parking and decrease the number of required spaces for new residential construction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Kenney,

Reducing the number of parking spaces relative to new residential construction has worked in Philadelphia. It is an approach that has both allowed for the city’s population to grow while keeping street congestion in check. Around 100, 000 people joined Philly’s ranks from 2010 to 2020, and, inevitably, quite a number of cars came with them. Though the population is booming, valuable land is still being allocated to parking despite a favorable shift by a number of people to ditch their cars. What can be done to prioritize more space for people over vehicles?

The clear solution based on past zoning regulations coming out of the city council is to create fewer parking spaces per household. The number of people found in the average family unit is decreasing, so the laws designating parking spaces should reflect the actively developing demographics of Philadelphia. All in all, dense cities like Philly are experiencing a housing construction boom; careful consideration of land use must be a critical part of these developments.

New and existing residents of Philadelphia urge you to consider all the information to inform zoning laws related to new parking spaces as required for fresh residential construction. It is the only way to ensure the little space in the city prioritizes people over parking.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dough4872


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